Located just northwest of Washington, DC, inside the beltway, Bethesda Maryland is an unincorporated, census-designated place in Southern Montgomery County, Maryland. CDP’s have no official boundaries.
History of Bethesda
Bethesda is named after a local church, Bethesda Meeting House. It was just farms and a little village until the 1890’s when the streetcar line made its way up to Chevy Chase DC and Maryland, then into Bethesda. The population stuck close to the rail line until cars became more common, and the growth in Bethesda spread out to what we now know. When metro came in 1984, Bethesda then exploded into a major commercial center with many companies and government contractors setting up shop or their headquarters here.
Did You Know?
Bethesda is home to corporate HQ of some places you may have heard of – Marriott Hotels which also includes Ritz-Carlton and Le Meridian, Total Wine & More, Lockheed Martin, Walter Reed Medical Center and NIH – National Institute of Health
Bethesda Real Estate
Filled with a wide variety of home styles and neighborhoods, the tree-lined streets have colonials, bungalows, arts and crafts, mid-century and everyone’s favorite – McMansions. Bethesda is a community that many developers have had their eye on for years – buying up the small ranch or rambler houses that once were, and building huge homes on the lot. Teardowns are everywhere in Bethesda, and if you want to know more about that I have a video on teardowns.
Single Family Homes will set you back 7 figures here. There are some homes that will be in the $800’s, $900’s but they will need work. Also, living in Bethesda just try calling a contractor. Once they hear “Bethesda” the price goes up. Bethesda clients were gutting and re-doing their kitchen and got a quote for $70,000 for a 10×10 kitchen. That’s super costly.
A lot with a teardown will cost you $800,000 and to build the house, another $500,000 – $700,000 depending on fixtures. You’re going to be in for $1.5M at least, if you’re lucky. Those houses are going to sell for $2M+ if a developer flips them.
Interesting twist, because Bethesda is so urban, there are townhomes and condos here too, and they are close to the retail and shopping areas.
How about the rental cost in Bethesda? The average rent in Bethesda is $2,400 for 916 square feet, according to RentCafe. That’s about in line with Washington, D.C.
Food in Bethesda
There’s a lot of good eating here, and a lot of well-known highbrow, trendy restaurants and a lot of long time local places too. And here’s something that most people won’t tell you – a “hole in the wall” restaurant here in Bethesda is here for a reason, and is always worth trying. I’ve been shocked at how great the food is at some of the restaurants with let’s say, zero ambiance.
The Bethesda eater has high standards. If a restaurant can’t get 4+ out of 5 stars here, it won’t last. Bethesda is home to many fabulous restaurants – Italian, Mexican, Lebanese, French, Greek, Pizza, American, Asian. Here are some of the top restaurants in the area:
- Italian – Positano,
- Mexican / Tapas – Jaleo, Gringos &vMariachis, Casa Oaxaca, Guapos
- French – Bistro Provence, Mon Ami Gabi, Le Vieux Logis
- Greek – Big Greek Cafe
- American – True Food, Blacks Bar & Kitchen, Original Pancake House, Alatri Brothers, Founding Farmers, Old Georgetown Grille, Barrel & Crow, Mortons Steakhouse, Bethesda Crab House, and Woodmont Grille – which has been in Bethesda since 1992 and offers a modern cuisine with baked in-house breads, unique seafood selections, top quality USDA Prime steaks and delicious salads.
- Sushi – Hinata
- Pizza – Pizzeria Da Marco
- Call Your Mother – bagels that people line up for
- Don’t miss the Tastee Diner – a tiny relic from the past that’s open 24/7. My husband and I went here once at 4 a.m. when we were dating and it did not disappoint.
There’s also Farmer’s Markets
- Bethesda Central in the parking lot of Bethesda Elementary School Sundays 9-1:30 year round
- Montgomery Farm Women’s Coop – open daily 7-4
- Central Farm Market on Westlake Drive on Saturdays 9-1:30
- Bethesda Farmers Market in Veterans Park Sunday 10-1:30
- Grocery – you have it all here. Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Harris Teeter, Giant
Now that you’ve eaten, I can’t not mention the shopping. There’s shopping! There’s Montgomery Mall with Nordstrom. Remember malls?
There’s Bethesda Row downtown, which has Apple, The North Face, LuluLemon Athleta, Lilly Pulitzer, or the area’s largest Anthropologie & Co.
There are 4 country clubs in Bethesda – Congressional, Bethesda, Burning Tree and Kenwood.
Bethesda also has a pretty rich arts community, there’s the Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club which was a theatre when built in 1938, then became a movie theatre, then was sold at a 2010 auction and extensively renovated. There are several other theatres for performing arts – Round House Theatre and Strathmore up the way a bit in North Bethesda. There are also tons of galleries filled with art.
The Landmark Theatre here is also known for independent films.
Fun Fact, I get my GreekFro done at M Studio in Bethesda. We did a video together!
If this isn’t enough activity for you in Bethesda, you can get a bus that goes from Bethesda to New York in 4 hours.
And maybe this is considered fun, but, there’s a ton of pilates/yoga/cycle studios in Bethesda.
This urban suburb of DC gives you pretty much everything you could want for your kids.
Public schools here are top rated, which is why many people choose to move here, and why property values hold as a result.
I live in DC but my kids have taken various classes here in Bethesda because the offerings are amazing.
- YMCA – offers tons of classes and Bethesda location is great
- Imagination Stage – dance and theatre classes and camps toddler to teens
- My Gym – off River Rd, went for years when kids were little really enjoyed it.
- Glen Echo Park – a few min from Bethesda, classes, camps in arts, dance, music and there is also an aquarium for kids that’s highly rated as a must-do.
- Little Towns Children’s Museum in N Bethesda
- Cabin John Regional Park is one of Bethesda’s most popular parks. The park has plenty of ball parks and courts with summer-time indoor ice skating at the Cabin John Ice Rink! There’s also a great playground for kids and miles of hiking trails and a train to ride!
- Little Falls Park – 160 acres, playground
- Neighborhood parks – Elm St Park, Cheltenham Drive, Battery Lane, Greenwich Neighborhood Park
- Bowlero Bethesda either for fun date nights or family fun! 34 bowling lanes, bar food, fun lights, and great 100-ounce cocktails.
Bethesda is pretty dog-friendly.
Many of the restaurants mentioned allow dogs outside – Barrel & Crow, Café Oaxaca, Founding Farmers, Oh La La Souffles, Alatri Brothers.
The Cabin John Park has a dog park.
There’s also Capital Crescent Trail. Dogs have to be on-leash, but it’s a trail that goes 7 miles from downtown Bethesda to Georgetown in DC
Or you can head to North Bethesda to Bark Social and get a beer or coffee while your pup plays in the dog park.
That’s Bethesda! There’s a ton to do here and it’s a really vibrant and active suburb of DC which is why many people choose to live here. If you have any questions, let me know!